OVERNIGHT REGULATION: House GOP takes shears to EPA spending

Another Tuesday is in the books, and with it a full day of federal regulation and enforcement news from here in the District. You’ll find all the most important headlines, analysis — and a preview of tomorrow’s biggest storylines — here in The Hill’s OVERNIGHT REGULATION. Click here to sign up for the newsletter.

Now, let’s talk about regs.

 

THE BIG STORY

House GOPers are poised to mark-up their fiscal 2015 Interior and Environment appropriations bill in the morning. The 136-page legislation is chock full of language designed to block the Obama administration’s regulatory agenda on numerous fronts.

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Coming in at a cool $409 million below the president’s request, the $30.2 billion bill would withhold funding for an assortment of regulations, ranging from relatively obscure rules to those at the center of a raging debate over Obama’s exertion of executive power. http://j.mp/1k398f6

If enacted as drafted, the bill would either dial back or entirely block the following regulations:

1) The EPA’s twin draft regulations to limit carbon dioxide pollution from power plants. That ban would include both last month’s proposal to reduce carbon emissions from existing plants, as well as a rule offered earlier this year to limit emissions from newly built plants.

2) The EPA’s “Waters of the United States” rule designed to clarify (Republicans say expand) the agency’s jurisdiction over streams and other smaller bodies of water. After the power plant rules, the water regulation is probably the most contentious of pending EPA regulations.

3) The EPA’s rule that would tighten restrictions on what fill materials companies may dump into waterways.

4) A new Fish and Wildlife Service regulation restricting the sales and imports of ivory. http://j.mp/1mwlccW

5) An Interior Department plan to list various species of sage-grouse under the Endangered Species Act.

This legislation contains important provisions to rein in the harmful regulatory overreach of federal bureaucracies that will unnecessarily cause job loss and that will weaken our recovering economy.” – House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) upon unveiling the bill Tuesday.

 

ON TAP FOR WEDNESDAY

The Federal Government will continue to churn Wednesday, with the House grappling with appropriations bills, the Senate considering a Dem-backed “sportsmen’s” bill to preserve federal land for hunting and agencies around Washington moving scores of regulations through the rulemaking process.

President Obama will deliver remarks on the economy in Denver before hitting the fundraising circuit in support of Democratic candidates. POTUS is slated to headline events in Denver, Dallas and Austin.

Back in D.C.:

-The House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior, Environment and related agencies will markup the fiscal 2015 Interior and Environment spending bill. Look for Democrats to offer amendments seeking to soften the bill’s anti-regulation provisions. The 10 a.m. hearing will be webcast here: http://j.mp/1qglRyQ

-The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology will become the latest panel to take aim at the Waters of the U.S. rule proposed by EPA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. EPA Deputy Administrator Robert W. Perciasepe will be in the hot seat, and his testimony can be viewed live here at 10 a.m.: http://j.mp/VGfDyU

In advance of the hearing, the National Federation of Independent Business joined a chorus of private sector groups and congressional Republicans lambasting the proposal as a brazen power grab.

“These agencies are sidestepping congressional authority and bypassing the necessary rulemaking process to bring seasonal streams, ponds, ditches, depressions in fields, and large puddles into federal jurisdiction.” – NFIB Manager of Regulatory Policy Dan Bosch

-The Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence plans to file a federal lawsuit in the morning, challenging a Kansas law nullifying federal gun regulations in the state. A high-stakes legal battle over the statute, which has also drawn the ire of Attorney General Eric Holder, has been brewing for more than a year: http://j.mp/1k8w8K1

 

TOMORROW'S REGS TODAY:

Wednesday’s edition of the Federal Register includes 204 new regulations, proposed rules, notices and other administrative actions at the agencies.

GRAIN ELEVATORS: The EPA is updating decades old emissions standards for grain elevators, and is rejecting an industry bid to repeal certain provisions of existing regulations.

The current standards, issued in 1978 and last revisited in 1984, were subject to an eight-year review required by the Clean Air Act. The study, meant to ensure that grain elevators are achieving the “best system of emission reduction” also responds to an industry petition requesting that that the EPA do away with certain existing rules.

That request cited President Obama’s directive ordering agencies to identify needlessly burdensome or redundant rules that could be streamlined or repealed altogether.

The EPA, however, disagreed that portions of existing grain elevator regulations – specifically a section of the rule known as subpart DD – fit the bill.

“Based on the results of these analyses, the EPA concluded that subpart DD is still effective, relevant and not excessively burdensome,” the agency concluded: http://j.mp/1mwlD6P

SCHOOL LUNCHES: The Agriculture Department’s Food and Nutrition Service is taking comments on its plan to study the success of the national school lunch and school breakfast programs. The analysis follows changes in regulations implemented under the Healthy, Hunger Free Kids Act, which led to more stringent meal pattern and nutrient requirements for school meals: http://j.mp/1rOlWNS

CHILD LABOR: The Department of Defense (DOD), General Services Administration (GSA), and National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are proposing to extend existing regulations prohibiting the agencies from acquiring products produced by forced or indentured child labor: http://j.mp/1n4YZ1g

AUTO SAFETY: The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is issuing a final rule exempting certain cars that have been modified for disabled drivers from parts of existing safety regulations meant to keep people from being ejected in rollover accidents: http://j.mp/1stFO6B

 

NEWS RIGHT NOW:

TOO BIG TO JAIL? The Justice Department’s enforcement policies are coming under fire following a Public Citizen study finding a dramatic uptick in cases against major financial institutions that are being settled without criminal charges:http://j.mp/1mvXnSl

BARING ARMS: U.S. Soldiers are up in arms over regulations prohibiting them from rolling up their uniform sleeves, The Army Times reports: http://j.mp/1mwodK3

SALES PITCH: EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy hit the road to meet with farmers in Missouri, as the agency looks to shore up support for the Waters of the U.S. rule. The stop was part of an outreach tour that will also include visits to Texas, Wisconsin and Arizona: http://j.mp/1stITDK

ON THE MOVE: Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) Commissioner J. Christopher Giancarlo appointed Jason Goggins and Marcia Blase to his senior staff. http://j.mp/1lRWjUE

POINTING FINGERS: Financial regulators responsible for rules meant to foster competition are to blame for dangers associated with the proliferation of high-speed trading, Wall Street execs told Congress. Bloomberg’s David Michaels and Cheyenne Hopkins report: http://j.mp/1qgB037

 

BY THE NUMBERS:

$7.5 million: House Republicans’ proposed funding level for the EPA.

9: Percent decrease from the agency’s current enacted funding levels.

15,000: EPA’s maximum staffing level under the bill, which would bring agency personnel to its lowest total in 25 years.

155: The number of times the Justice Department resolved cases via deferred prosecution agreements (DPAs) and non-prosecution agreements (NPAs) in the five calendar years following the 2008 economic crisis.

0: The combined number of major institutions and individuals that have faced criminal charges connected to the crisis.

 

QUOTE OF THE DAY:

“Some people say that EPA is going to be regulating small, unconnected waters, including puddles on lawns, driveways and playgrounds. Now, that’s just silly.” – McCarthy, in defense of the Waters of the U.S. regulation.

 

We’ll endeavor to stay on top of these and other stories throughout the week, so check The Hill’s Regulation page early and often for the latest. And send any comments, complaints or regulatory news tips our way, via bgoad@thehill.com or tdevaney@thehill.com. And follow us at @ben_goad and @timdevaney.